People have asked me how I'm doing and my response has been, "I haven't been able to process my Dad's passing yet. I'm keeping busy so I don't have to think about it." But honestly...I'm very angry, frustrated and absolutely disgusted by so many people that have such disregard for others and so selfishly caught up in their own minutiae. By no means am I diminishing the hardships that most of us are going through. Life is especially tough right now for everyone. By definition our country (once considered to be the envy of all other countries) is in a Civil War (Def. WAR-a state of armed conflict between different nations or states or different groups within a nation. Def. CIVIL WAR - a war between citizens of the same country.) And professions that were once revered and that kids used to dream of becoming (police officer, teacher, reporter, politician, doctor, professional athlete, entertainer) are now largely demonized and/or unappreciated and riddled with skepticism of their ethics, judgement and compassion. People that have devoted their entire lives to their career and helping people are now looked down upon because of the words and/or actions of some. Their merits are now discounted by so many.
Racism and discrimination is real and does exist. As a society we cannot hide or ignore it any longer. Statements like "I have a black friend!" or "I have a cousin who's gay!" does not mean you have an understanding of the struggle that a black or gay person has experienced nor does saying that mean that you are accepting of them. And just because you have a "fat friend", "have experienced depression" or have a "drug addicted sibling" doesn't mean you're an expert on how to fix their life. There is no one answer or solution to fix homelessness, to end poverty or to create a world of peace, harmony and understanding. Our society has proven that this isn't possible. Being kind and working together isn't enough these days. Our mantra at the Motor City Mitten Mission is "It's Easy to Be Kind" and "Together We Can Make a Difference". I still stand behind those statements. I do my best to live these words each day. But sometimes it is really hard to be kind. And sometimes it's hard to work with other people, especially when people don't want to listen to each other or too selfish to see that they should be working for the greater good of all, not just some or for themselves.
I'm often complemented by people for the work that I do and it's appreciated. But it often makes me feel uncomfortable because I feel like it's common sense. When I see people that need help, I help. If I have something to give, I will give it. If I know something that I can teach, I will teach. If I have a question to ask, I will ask. I will not be afraid to engage with people that are different from me. I am no better or no worse. I have been an underdog and under estimated my entire life, I've struggled in almost every way imaginable and near death a few times. I've seen the best and worst in humanity and have learned that I have to throw caution to the wind sometimes to get things done. I've made mistakes, but have learned to own them. I wear my heart on my sleeve and I've been broken and bruised.
I actually started this post because I wanted to write about my Dad...I miss him! I missed him before he was gone. He lived in Florida and over the past several years, it's been hard to see him. I haven't had the money to visit often and now...I'm out of time.
I guess my tangent started because I was writing about my anger and frustration and thinking about how our society has become. I've lost a lot of respect for people that are family or friends (yes-I will still love and care about them) who continue to post jokes, memes, conspiracy theories and their insensitive opinions having to do with Covid-19 and masks.
My father battled Parkinson's for several years. A couple months ago he got sick and had to go into the hospital then he was sent to a rehab, then back to the hospital, then back to a rehab and then back to the hospital. My father was not out grocery shopping. He was not at family gatherings, he was not gallivanting around town without a mask. He was in a facility to get better. But instead, I assume one of the workers at his rehab passed Covid-19 to him and my Dad passed away 13 days later. Yes, my Dad had health concerns but not ones that should have taken his life when they did. But he was old and lived a great life so I guess it was ok for him to die! I guess it was ok that my Dad fought like a champ to deal with his Parkinson's but succumb to a virus that caused him to pass alone in a hospital without his wife or family by his side. I guess it's ok that the last time I saw my Dad it was through the internet, unresponsive while a nurse had to put protective gear on to set up a tablet so that my siblings and I could say goodbye to him. I couldn't hold my Dad's hand as he struggled to breath or stroke his forehead and give him a kiss on the cheek to let him know I was with him. I guess it's ok that he had to have an autopsy, be cremated and that I have to watch his funeral being live streamed on social media next week...yeah that's cool!
(My Dad's nurse suiting up to enter his room to set us up on our web video conference call.)
(Us on the last web video conference with our Dad)
Yeah I know death is a part of life. I know that I am blessed to have had my Dad live for 84 years. My Dad was great! He was kind, fun, hardworking, smart, adventurous and loving. He loved his family. And I realize how unbelievably lucky I am to have had the father I had. I know that many people lose loved ones way too soon and often unexpectedly. I can't even imagine that. I'm grateful to the nurses that gave my siblings and myself an opportunity to at least try and communicate with him for the last days of his life. And I have a strong enough faith in God to know that my Dad died knowing how much he was loved by so many. I have faith that my Dad is looking down on me and going to be another one of my angels that's going to help me get through these next hurdles in my life.
But with that said, I will reiterate how very angry I am about those who don't seem to give a shit about passing Covid-19 onto others and that minimize the seriousness of it. I work with the homeless along with housing and food insecure families and individuals, a population that is the most marginalized. I know dozens of people that have either passed away or who are still struggling from the affects of having it...we don't know what the long term affects are yet. But I guess these people don't matter either because they're a drain on society? Oh but I do know some rich suburban kids and adults that have gotten it too...but I'm sure they'll be ok! Life goes on and society needs to get back to "normal" (whatever TF that was).
I find it a bit ironic that so many people that thought they were financially stable and secure who often cast so much judgement and criticism upon those that are the most in need and now themselves are in panic mode because they're struggling to pay their bills, struggling to work, struggling to take care of their kids, depressed and feeling isolated from having the freedom of doing what they used to be able to do on a daily basis and irate because someone else is telling them what they should and should not do. This may be shocking, but this is what our most marginalized population goes through on a daily basis, long before the pandemic. Imagine how even more shitty their situation is now.
I get Freedom of Speech! I get that it seems like you can't say or write something without offending someone. I feel that way about this post but I'm going to "throw that caution into the wind" because I just lost my Dad and I want people to know what a painful experience that this is for me because he is an example of one of those "expendable person's". Whoever passed it to him probably didn't know that they had/have it. Probably would feel bad if they knew they gave it to him and that it's what killed him. You see, wearing the mask isn't about you catching Covid-19, it's about you passing Covid-19 to someone else...passing it to someone else that someone else loves very very much. 😢💔😷
It's Easy to Be Kind! Together we can make a difference!
Love you, Dad! xoxo